Hello. Our 10 month old GDS was diagnosed three weeks ago with bilateral hip dysplasia, osteoarthritic changes, degenerative joint diasease, decrease muscle mass & tone. All quite disheartening as both sire and dam were OFA pass.
Diagnostic work up was done after he had three episodes of refusing stairs. At this time, he has seen the rehab specialist who has suggested:
Adequan inj 2X wk for 4 wks then monthly, Dasequan 2/day, Rimadyl 50mg 2x day x 6-8 wks then tramadol for pain as needed, fish oil caps 2x day, 9 home exercises to be done daily, and underwater treadmill therapy to build muscle mass and improve gait. We are overwhelmed as this is all to manage his disease with an anticipated hip replacement down the road after he reaches maturation and relating to function.
My question: is this a programme which seeems sound? and specifically, has anyone had experience with underwater treadmill therapy with HD? This all is at a cost of approx 1K per month and will easily increase if longer medication and aquatherapy is suggestedfor an extended time.
I would very much appreciate any comments from owners or persons with experience with a young GSD with this diagnosis (whose PennHIP cert vet also states has already signs of arthritic changes in the acetabulum and femoral heads) and especially anyone who has used underwater treadmills. Thank you very much. Alex
I am very sorry about your pup's diagnosis.
I would take a more conservative approach using supplements and physical therapy before starting your dog on Rimadyl and tramadol. How bad is your dog's pain? Is he struggling to move? Can he still play and run around? How severe are his symptoms? Multiple ortho vets have told me to always "treat the dog, not the xrays". Treat according to his symptoms.
I have heard good things about the injections. The cost can be a bit high though. You can reduce costs by learning to do the injections at home.
Dasuquin is a good joint supplement and might help prevent some future degenerative changes. Fish oil is also a great supplement for dogs with joint issues. Physical therapy and exercises will greatly help his mobility. I would recommend doing these as advised by the vet.
Hydrotherapy has great reviews for dogs with joint problems. It helps build muscle and keeps stress off joints. Unlike traditional exercise on ground, water therapy helps the dogs exercise without putting great stress on their problem hips/joints. Walking dogs in chest deep water is also a good idea. Hiking uphill is also a good way to put on muscle and maintain muscle mass in these dogs.
I would be conservative about the tramadol and Rimadyl. I would use these medications as needed.
As young as he is, he will most likely need some surgical intervention if he has severe symptoms at this age. Total hip replacements have good reviews and give the dog a great quality of life, but they are quite expensive. FHO and TPO are other options as well. I would get an appointment with an ortho vet at a hospital used to doing these surgeries so you can get a first hand opinion about his surgical interventions.